BCHL Today: Cents captain Van Unen plays 200th game, former Express AP Barzal wins fastest skater competition, and more

Cents forward Van Unen hits 200 game milestone

20-year-old forward Rylan Van Unen hit a significant milestone on Friday against Penticton. Van Unen played his 200th career BCHL game Рall of which have come with the Centennials after he spent some of his minor hockey career in Merritt before moving to Kamloops. The Cents captain has 11 goals and nine assists in 45 games this season.

Express forward Connell punches ticket to Bentley

2001-born Coquitlam Express forward Cooper Connell has committed to attend Bentley University this September. The sophomore has 13 goals and 18 assists in 47 games with the Express this season. He is the 14th member of Coquitlam’s roster to commit to an NCAA school.

Former Express AP forward Barzal wins NHL fastest skater competition

New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal (two assists in six games as an affiliate player with Coquitlam in 2012-13) won the fastest skater contest at the NHL All-Star Skills Competition in St. Louis on Friday.

Former Vees blueliner Reid commits to UNH

Defenceman Luke Reid (two goals, 14 assists in 54 games with Penticton in 2017-18) has committed to the University of New Hampshire for this fall. Reid has two goals and 12 assists in 28 games with Chicago of the US Hockey League this season.

Former Grizzlies defenceman Noble scores big for RMC

Blueliner¬†Cole Noble (one goal, 15 assists in 99 games with Victoria from 2017-19) scored the winning goal for Royal Military College on Jan. 18 in a 3-2 overtime victory against the Army West Point Black Knights. It’s the first win for RMC over Army since 2002.

Former Silverbacks boss Atkinson hired in Olds

Former Salmon Arm GM and head coach Scott Atkinson, who was fired by the Silverbacks last month, has been hired to assume the same roles with the Olds Grizzlys of the AJHL. Atkinson replaces Joe Murphy after he resigned from the Grizzlys on Jan. 13.

Three Stars of the Night

First Star: Powell River forward Michael Abgrall scored a goal and added three assists.

Second Star: Nanaimo forward Liam Ryan had a hat trick for the Clippers.

Third Star: Surrey goaltender Reece Klassen made 35 saves for the shutout.

Honourable Mentions:¬†Penticton’s Jay O’Brien and Chilliwack’s Nikita Nesterenko each had a goal and two assists. Victoria goaltender Blake Wood made 43 saves. Powell River forward Devin Leduc, Salmon Arm forward Daniel Rybarik, Coquitlam forward Bradley Ong, Trail forward Kent Johnson and Merritt forward Payton Matsui each had a pair of goals for their respective teams.